Leila has eight children. Only four attend school. Her oldest son dropped out before he finished primary school because the family needed money. Leila doesn’t mind, she never went to school herself so she doesn’t really see the value in education. They live from day to day, dependent on whatever they can grow or the chickens they rear. The children’s income from casual labour, and their help in the fields, feels more important than learning.
But this means the poverty cycle grinds on. Without access to education, the children replicate their parents’ lives: Difficult, uncertain, poor. With agriculture increasingly prone to climate-related shocks, life for the poorest in rural southern Ethiopia grows ever more fragile, yet children aren’t being equipped with skills for anything better.
16-year-old *Dagnesh is aware that things could be different, but his chances of change are fading. Dagnesh dropped out of school four years ago to help his family. He grows onions on a small plot of land and his income goes to support his parents and siblings. But deep down, he feels they should be supporting him. He says he’d go back to school if he could, but without support, it’s just not an option.
Help us change the story for children like Dagnesh so they have more choices, and for mums like Leila, to help them make different choices.
Our Christmas Appeal in 2020 is funding a new project boosting income and opportunities for families like these, in one of the poorest regions of Ethiopia, so that together they can build a better future. Using women’s self-help groups as a catalyst for change, we will challenge the culture which fails to value education, and help to develop alternative sources of income, so families are less reliant on child labour. Please give to help create better outcomes for women and children.